A feather is an epidermal growth forming an outer covering on an animal. Epidermal means outer cells covering an organism or creature, such as skin. So, a feather grows from an animal’s skin.
Feathers are also called plumage. One feather is a plume.
The only animals that have feathers are birds and dinosaurs. However, dinosaurs no longer exist – they are extinct. Therefore, only birds have feathers.
The bird with the most feathers is the Whistling Swan (Cygnus columbianus) with up to 25,000 feathers.
The bird with the least number of feathers is the Hummingbird in the Trochilidae family, with fewer than 1,000 feathers.
A feather is very light, but all of a bird’s feathers together weigh more than a bird’s skeleton, because the skeleton is also very light so that it can lift off the ground or perch.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM